An anonymous woman shared the hurt of discovering her husband had an affair, her struggle to rebuild their marriage... and learning to accept his new son into their lives. From Essence.com.
Yes, it sounds very Jerry Springer, but we, my family, are not. To outsiders my husband and I seemed to have a great union. We got hitched in our mid-twenties and immediately began pursuing our piece of the American dream. We had great careers. We had good friends. We had a beautiful home. There is one thing that we forgot to maintain: a strong connection. It didn't happen overnight. Losing my husband was kind of like gaining weight, you know one day you realize that everything you're wearing is 80% elastic, but then you remember you added another food group to your diet...chocolate cake. When it comes to my marriage, I recall making what seemed like small choices at the time that had big consequences later.
So what happened? Being a Stepford wife -- perfect house, kids, career and man -- is easy to watch on television, but hard to replicate in the real world. A few years into our marriage we had two kids and, while my husband is a loving father, I ended up doing the lion's share of the work. I was exhausted, mentally and physically, every day. More importantly, I grew to resent him.
As my requests for him to step up as an active co-parent continued to receive a cold shoulder I experienced another big chill, in my heart. I felt he was being selfish and stubborn and eventually it created a wedge in our relationship. During this time we discussed separating and the possibility of divorce. Neither happened. What did occur was the ultimate betrayal. My husband had an affair with another woman, who became pregnant and decided to have the child.
Finding out about the affair hurt, but learning about the outside child made me enraged. How could he be so irresponsible and stupid? A kid would be a daily reminder of the pain of his affair, a recurrent embarrassment (how do you explain 'this one isn't mine, it's his') and an extra bill. Eventually, after much prayer and counseling, my husband and I reconciled. The decision wasn't easy. Initially, I felt like I'd walk around with a scarlet K on me, and everyone would know that my husband cheated and had a child on me. But I realized that wasn't my shame to carry -- it's his. My husband must cope with knowing that he brought a life into this world in an unseemly manner and one day he will have to explain that to his son.
Today, I am balancing rebuilding my marriage and accepting my husband's young son into our lives. I recognize that forgiving my husband means letting go of the hurt and looking forward -- which is easy to say, but hard to do. Even more challenging was pushing myself to a place where I could truly love his son, and accept him as part of our household. I'm working on it. Rebuilding the trust, bond and intimacy in my marriage has been a labor of love. Hopefully, we'll give birth to something greater together.
For more "Balancing Act" stories, go to Essence.com.